Saturday, December 10, 2011

Daily Supports

  1. My iPhone is my brain!  I use it to keep lists, my calendar, for news, and communication.  I am so lost with it.  I feel like I can't function.
  2. My husband is indispensable!  We depend on each other for monetary and emotional support.  We also depend on each other for parenting support.  I don't know what I would do without him.  I have great respect for people who are single parents.  That must be the most difficult job in the world.
  3. My family is very supportive.  Each one supports me in their own way.  The oldest helps out a lot around the house, especially with the youngest.  My son, the middle child, is my resident tech specialist.  He helps me out when I have technology problems.  The youngest is my shadow.  She is always with me and always knows how to comfort me when I am upset.  She and I are extremely close.
  4. My co-workers help support me when things get stressful at work.  We vent to each other when things are tough at work.  This really helps because then we don't take things home to our families.  The last 2 years, we have not been able to eat lunch all together as in the previous years.  This has been tough on us.
  5. My parents are there for me when only the advice from a parent will do.  They are always willing to offer an ear and are never judgemental.  I can call them for anything and they will help.  When I was younger they offered monetary and emotional support.  As I have grown older I look to them when I need advice or just need to talk. 
My imagined challenge was a physical disability.  This was not hard as we experienced this, to some degree, this week.  I had bunion surgery on my right foot on Monday and have been fairly helpless all week.  My husband has had to cook all week and the oldest has done most of the house cleaning.  Everyone is out of clothing to wear.  The youngest hasn't had a bath since Wednesday.  I feel like my house is falling apart.  If this were a permanent disability, life could get very difficult for us.  First, we would not be able to meet our financial obligations.  It takes both of our salaries to support our family.  Next, everyone would have to get better about working together as a family. This necessarily isn't a bad thing, though.  We have learned a lot as a family this week.  I learned that I don't need to be in control of everything and that the rest of the family doesn't really mind living in a pig sty, either.  My definition of clean is definitely different than theirs!  Everyone is still alive and I feel we have grown closer as a family.  My husband and I have faced many challenges in the 17 years we have been together and we have always come out on top.  I think this is because we have a great family and we are supportive of each other. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Connections to Play

Quotes about Play:

“Play is the beginning of knowledge.” ~ Anonymous

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” Kay Redfield Jamison (professor of psychiatry)

“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” ~ Leo Buscaglia (author, educator)

Play Today
Children play today just like they have always have.  However, the toys are very different than when I was growing in the 1970s.  Many of the toys today don't allow the children to use their imaginations.  They are often electronic and don't offer children the chance to use it in different ways.  The best toys, in my opinion, are blocks, dolls, cars, trucks, trains, etc.  Children need toys that foster their imagination.

I think it's important for everyone to play.  It alieviates stress in children and adults.  I love playing with my children.  My daughter loves to color and I like to sit with her and color, too.  It is very relaxing.  Right now, my children and I really like to go the Six Flags and ride roller coasters together.  I am having a great time playing with my children.  Each new stage in their lives gives me the chance to remember and experience a different stage of play.

My Favorite Childhood Toys

I loved playing with Little People, Barbies, and Dolls.  I could play for hours in my room by myself.  My mother bought all the Little People items she could find.  We had the castle, a house, a ferris wheel, and the lion country safari set.  My mom kept them all and now her grandkids play with them and love them as much as I did.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Relationship Reflection

·       We have all kinds of relationships.  Family, work, close friends, casual acquaintances, pets, classmates, and students and their families.  All of these relationships play an important role in my life.  My family is first and foremost.  I will put them above all other relationships.    They are in my mind with each decision I make.  My pets are also very special to me.  They provide me unconditional love and they are never judgemental.  It is so relaxing to play tug-o-war with the dogs or just listen to the cats purr. 
·      The relationships I have formed at work are also very important to me.  I work with 2 amazing teachers, Mrs. Rademacher and Mrs. Coleman.  They serve as an inspiration and a friend.  They are always there to give advice or just listen.  I don’t know what I would do without them.  

·        My students are also very important to me, but are also the most challenging relationship.  I am there because I want to make a difference in their lives.  Sometimes it is something small, like offering a smile on their worst day or sometimes it’s big, like watching their baby while they go to class.   Sometimes I wonder why I do it, but then something happens to remind me.  Over the years, I have learned to relish the small triumphs and not dwell on the challenges.

·        The relationships that I have built at work are (hopefully) going to help me become an effective early childhood professional.  Once I finish this program, I want to open the first child development in my school district.  My goal is to open it in conjunction with a specialized school for teenage parents.  They will attend school in the same building as the child development center.  They will work in the center in exchange for childcare.  They, and other high school students, will be given the opportunity to work towards their CDA.  In order to achieve this goal, I am going to have to draw on the relationships that I have built within the district. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

by Robert Fulghum
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
I love this poem, because I feel it describes a well-rounded person.  It also implies that the foundation for future success is laid in early childhood.  It also represents the importance of early childhood education.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Testing Children

I feel it is very important for children to be tested for intelligence, giftedness, and their understanding of a subject.  In my case, I feel very strongly about children being tested in order to participate in a G/T program .  My son, who is 11 and in the 5th grade, has been in the gifted and talented program since 1st grade.  In G/T he is challenged and given the freedom to learn in his own way.  He is bored in the regular classroom.  He finishes his work quickly and easily.   He spends much of his time waiting for the rest of the class to finish.  In the third grade, he had so much free time he read Moby Dick, Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, and Huckleberry Finn.  These are a few of the books I read in high school!  He says that he still has free time in class every day.  In this free time, he often works on G/T assignments.  He has been tested every few years by the school district to re qualify for services and will be tested one more time this year to qualify for services for 6th - 12th grades in the areas of math and English.

In Australia, children who are gifted are allowed to attend school earlier than other who are not gifted.  It is required that these children complete an IQ test given by a psychologist.  Most children in Australia are tested for giftedness by a licensed psychologist at the parents expense.  In some cased insurance companies may pay for the testing.  Some children are tested within their school.

Gifted & Talented Children's Association of South Australia

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Growing up during the depression

My grandmother was a young girl during the great depression.  She has told me stories about what it was like back then. She said they were fortunate because her father was able to keep his general store open.  They ended up having to take in most of their family because they had lost their homes.  She said it got really crowded and she shared her room with all of her cousins.  She said she remembered how hard it was to have a store at that time.  People would come in and not be able to pay.  It was hard turning them away, but they had make a living.  She said that she holds onto everything because she lived through the great depression.   

Since I have special affinity for my country and I wanted to know more about what my grandmother lived through, I chose to research the great depression and how it affected children.  I learned that many families crowded into one room shacks, lived in caves, or on the streets.  Many men deserted their families resulting in more than 200,00 vagrant children.  To save money, many families went without medical or dental care.  They couldn't afford milk or meat which led to nutrient deficiencies.  Many children were not able to attend school.

I can only imagine how difficult life must have been for children at this time.  They were forced to grow up quickly and were not able to develop like a typical child.  Due to malnourishment, brain growth and learning were affected.  The constant stress would have affected every aspect of their development.

Source:  Digital History.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS, is a topic that is very important to me.  I talk about SIDS quite frequently in my teen parenting class because most of the mothers, and the family of the mothers, are extremely uninformed about SIDS and the ways to prevent it.  SIDS rates are high for babies born to teenage mothers.  I talk about all the ways to prevent it including:

·         Placing babies to sleep on their backs (They argue with me, saying their babies sleep better on their stomachs.)
·         Use a firm mattress with no pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, bumper pads, or sleep positioners.  (The girls usually argue with me about the bumper pads.  They think their babies are going to get hurt or stuck in the sides of the crib.)
·         Do not sleep with the baby in the adult bed or couch.  (Many of the girls sleep with their babies anyway.)
·         Don’t over-clothe the baby or let the baby get too warm when sleeping.  Open a window or run a fan when the baby is asleep.
·         Don’t smoke in the house or around the baby.
·         Breast feed
·         Use a pacifier

I talk about the ways to prevent SIDS every time I hear news story about it.  I also make it point to revisit the topic when one of the girls is about to deliver and then again when they come back to school.  I am hoping that maybe I can prevent it from happening to them.

Rates of SIDS in the United States as compared to other countries.
In 2007, SIDS was the 3rd leading cause of death in American Infants with 2,453 cases reported.  You can see from the chart that the cases of SIDS in American have declined since the Back To Sleep campaign was started in 1994.  However, the rate of SIDS is still high in certain ethnic groups.
Chart 2. SIDS Deaths by Race and Ethnicity, 1995–2006
Chart 2. SIDS Deaths by Race and Ethnicity, 1995-2005

The rate of SIDS in the United States is higher than other developed countries. The U.S. ranked 2nd in a study of 13 countries by Fern Hauck and Kawai Tanabe.  The country with highest rate was New Zealand and the lowest were the Netherlands and Japan.  All of the countries experienced a reduction in the number of SIDS deaths after risk reduction campaigns similar the Back to Sleep campaign in the U.S.  However, the rate in the United States may be higher because a cause of death is actively sought for by performing autopsies.   In Japan, only about 1/3 of infant deaths result in an autopsy.
Chart 3. International SIDS Rates, Ordered from Lowest to Highest SIDS Rate in 2005
Chart 3. International SIDS Rates, ordered from lowest to highest SIDS rate in 2005

The information about the rate of SIDS in developing countries is not accurate.  This is due to a high infant mortality rate from identifiable causes of death, such as respiratory infections, malnutrition, and diarrhea.  Health officials are much more focused on preventing these types of deaths.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Having a Baby in Brazil

About 40% of all births in Brazil are c-sections, most being elective.  Private hospital c-section rates are much higher with some being at 100%.  The reason given by Marsden Wagner, MD, a perinatal epidemiologist who works for the World Health is that roughly one quarter of the mothers are from upper or middle class.  Many doctors perform c-sections to receive higher payments from the insurance companies and to save time by not allowing women to go through the labor process.  Most women do not attend childbirth classes.  They receive all of their information from their doctor and tend to go along with their plan for a c-section.  In 1998 the Brazilian government instituted procedures to reduce the rate of c-sections.

My birth experience

I have two children and two birth experiences which were probably as different as birth experiences can get.  With my son, Tyler, I was completely unprepared even though I had attended the free birth classes given at the hospital and read What to Expect When You Are Expecting.  I was 27 years old and working as credit counselor for a non-profit agency.  Tyler was due on Wednesday and I was planning to work through that week because first babies are always late.  At least that was what everyone told me.  Well, early Monday morning I went into labor and woke my husband up about 5 am to take me to the hospital. We arrived at the hospital and checked into the L&D room.  I was able to get my epidural right away so it wasn't painful.  After about five hours of easy labor it was time to push.  That's when things got crazy.  Tyler's heartbeat starting dropping and the nurses gave me oxygen and made me lay on my side (which is pretty hard to do when you've had an epidural).  I couldn't see anything over the oxygen mask and got really concerned when I heard my doctor tell the nurse to get the Neonatal doctor right away.  Alarms were going off and nobody was telling me anything!  To make things worse my epidural wore off on one side on my body.  My doctor said it was too late for a c-section so he told me I needed to have a vacuum extraction.  My husband I agreed and Tyler was born (or maybe I should say ripped out of me) at almost 1 pm.  He fine and the doctor said he really couldn't explain what had made his heart rate drop like that.  I was in a lot of pain (4th degree tears to the perimeum) for a few weeks and suffered from mild post partum depression for about six weeks.

My experience with my daughter, Olivia, five years later was wonderful.  My water broke on a Sunday afternoon and we went to hospital that evening.  Because I was not having any contractions yet, the nurse administered the Pitocin to speed things up.  I was the only patient in L&D that night, so I had the full attention of my doctor and nurse.  Things were very quiet and Olivia was born at 12:37 on Monday morning after about 45 minutes of pushing.  I felt great the day she was born and was disappointed that I had to stay the mandatory 24 hours.  I was discharged on Tuesday and went home and cooked dinner for the family and resumed my normal life, only with a new baby along.

I feel my experiences were so different for several reasons.  First, I was much more prepared with Olivia.  I had gone through it before, but I was also teaching prenatal development and birth as part of my child development and teen parenting classes.  I was much more knowledgeable about the entire process and the possible complications.  Therefore, I was much more relaxed the second time.  When I had my son, my doctor had 2 other patients in labor and all the delivery rooms were full that day.  They were in and out all day and were very rushed.  It was noisy and because he was born in the daytime, there were many visitors in and out of the delivery room.  With our daughter is was just my husband and I, the nurse, and the doctor.  As for the postpartum depression, I think the fact that I was more prepared and the delivery went so well contributed to the fact that I didn't have it the second time. 

Giving birth and being a mother is the most amazing experience in the world.  Sometimes I look at my children and can't believe that these two amazing humans are mine.

I think the birth process plays a role in child development.  The experience of the mother and her feelings after birth will affect the way she mothers her child.  Post-partum depression can manifest in many ways and may be harmful to the baby.  I know that I was probably a better mother to my newborn daughter than to my newborn son simply because I was better educated and the birth process went so well. 

Olivia- 1 month; Tyler- 5 years

Friday, August 12, 2011

Examining Codes of Ethics

NAEYC's Code of Ethical Conduct

I-4.2: To promote cooperation among professionals and agencies and interdisciplinary collaboration among professions concerned with addressing issues in the health, education, and well-being of young children, their families, and their early childhood educators.

In order to serve children, it takes more than one person or agency.  It is important to maintain professional and collaborative relationships within the community. For example, in my current position as a high school teacher, I refer students to our Family Specialist who can help them with social issues.  My district offers parent education courses and I teach a parenting class to teen parents.  We work with surrounding businesses to gain funding for some of these programs.

I-1.8:  To support the right of each child to play and learn in an inclusive environment that meets the needs of children with and without disabilities.

All children, regardless of ability, should learn together.  This is beneficial to the child with and without disabilities.  My daughter spent two years in a program where typically developing children were mixed with PPCD children.  It was a wonderful academic program, but it also taught her compassion for children who are      differently-abled.  I use this program as an example in my child development classes.

DEC Code of Ethics

3. We shall strive for the highest level of personal and professional competence by seeking and
using new evidence based information to improve our practices while also responding openly to
the suggestions of others.

I believe that life-long learning is imperative for personal and professional success.  We have so many resources available to us, it's hard not to stay current.  The key is putting this knowledge into practice.  Some of the best ideas and information comes from friends and colleagues.  We should always keep an open mind and be open to suggestions.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Resources from Week 5

Part 1: Position Statements and Influential Practices

Global Support for Children’s Rights and Well-Being

Selected Early Childhood Organizations

Selected Professional Journals Available in the Walden Library
  • YC Young Children
  • Childhood
  • Journal of Child & Family Studies
  • Child Study Journal
  • Multicultural Education
  • Early Childhood Education Journal
  • Journal of Early Childhood Research
  • International Journal of Early Childhood
  • Early Childhood Research Quarterly
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Studies
  • Maternal & Child Health Journal
  • International Journal of Early Years Education

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Additional Resources

National Association for the Education of Young Children.(2009). Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 (3rd ed.).  Carol Copple & Sue Bredekamp (Eds).  
I recieved this book from the Early Childhood Education department at Alamo Community Colleges at a workshop.  It came with a CD that contains additional reading and video examples of DAP.  I use this book in my Child Development course.

Scholastic Early Childhood Today
Teaching tips, strategies, and acitivites for the early childhood classroom

Early Childhood News

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Words of Inspiration and Motivation

"Attachment to a baby is a long-term process, not a single, magical moment. The opportunity for bonding at birth may be compared to falling in love—staying in love takes longer and demands more work." ~T. Berry Brazelton

"...when we’re talking about early childhood development and education, we’re talking prenatal to five years old. Learning begins right away. The neuroscientists show that if the child is in a stressful environment during these early years, the brain doesn’t develop properly. There was a famous study by Dr. Bruce Perry on the orphans in Romania. They were put in cribs and virtually ignored, except for feeding time. At age three, their brains were about a third smaller than what they should have been."~ Art Rolnick (

"We argued that early childhood development is economic development, and the research shows it’s economic development with a high public return—very high."
~ Art Rolnick (
"We, as professionals, in the early childhood field, have to opportunity to shape a child's life for the better." ~Sandy Escobido in "The Passion for Early Childhood"
Reference:  Laureate Education, Inc. (n.d). The Passion for Early ChildhoodRetrieved from

Friday, July 15, 2011

Personal Childhood Web

People who nurtured and cared about me:

First, I have to name my parents, who are still happily married after 46 years.  I really think that they were the people who played the most significant role in my development.   They are the reason that I am a successful adult today.
My Mom:  She was always there for me and providing loving guidance and support throughout my life.  I would consider her to be my best friend.  (I admit, there was a time in my teens when she wasn't, but that's normal right?)  I owe a lot to her.  She loved and supported me no matter what.  Through good decisions and bad, she was there and was never judgemental.  My favorite saying of hers is, "When one door closes, another one opens."  She always said this to me when I was disappointed about something.  Sometimes I hated hearing that, but she was right.  As I age, I realize how much wisdom my mother shared with me.  I will always love her and she will always play an important role in my life.
My Dad:  My dad is so smart and can do anything.  He is my superhero.  When I was young, he was the coach of all my basketball and softball teams every year until I started playing for the school in 6h grade.  He could fix anything and knew everything about everything.  To this day, I still call him when I have a problem about almost anything.  He is an extremely hard worker, but always found time for his family.  What I love most about him now is how he interacts with his 5 grandchildren.  He loves them so much and it shows.

Three more to go....
I will start with my Grandma Nelson, my Mom's mom.  She was a quirky soul.  She was ornery, but she loved my brother and I so much.  We were her only grandchildren.  I didn't get to see her very much since she lived in the Edinburg, Texas, (down south in the Rio Grande Valley) and we lived in Lubbock (in the panhandle).  It was a long drive and my parents weren't able to make it home very often.  We did go more when we moved to Plano (a suburb of Dallas) when I was ten.  My brother and I called her the fun grandma because she would take us to the park and hang upside down on the monkey bars.  Shortly after we moved to Plano, grandma started to change.  I was 10 then and we finally got a diagnosis when I was about 15.  Grandma had alzheimer's disease.  It was so hard to see her slip away.  She forgot my name, she called me one of her sister's names, then she didn't know me at all.  She became confined to a wheel chair, then a bed, and finally passed away on August 21, 2009 at the age of 96.  I have missed her a lot longer than 2 years and it still makes me cry thinking about her.

Two more to go....
I could name some teachers:
  1. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Schwartzenbach, from Williams Elementary school in Lubbock, Texas.  I remember she was very caring and kind.  She had also been my brother's teacher and my mother always commented on how much she liked her.  I also remember the photographer could not get her name right on the board for the class picture. 
  2. My third grade teacher, Miss Hess.  I remember how nice she was to me.
  3. Mrs. Baber, my middle school history teacher.  She was so nice and worked at Dillards in the evening.
  4. My 12th grade marketing teacher, Mrs. Begis at Plano Senior High school.  She never marked me tardy even though I was late every day.
I think it is sad that I can only remember 4 teachers who I would consider nuturing.  But then I was one of those well-adjusted kids who didn't require extra work from the teacher.  Thanks Mom & Dad :)

I think for the last 2, I will pick my Grandma and Grandpa Test, my Dad's parents.  They were not the fun grandparents, that was Grandma Nelson, but they loved my brother and me.  They ended up with 4 grandchildren, my brother and I and then 12 years later, my cousins in Ohio, who I have seen 4 times my entire life.  I have learned more about them from Facebook than from seeing them in person.  I guess you have figured out that we were not a close family.  Sometimes I think that is why I married my husband.  His family is so close and they always have big family gatherings.  Anyway, back to my grandparents, they did the best they could.  They weren't affectionate people.  I think a lot has to do with the way they were raised and the time period.  They were born in 1915 and times were hard back then.  Anyway, I felt loved by them and their influence contributed to my strong sense of family.  I cherish the china my grandma gave me for my wedding gift.  It had been her mother's, my great-grandma's, who I am named after.  It is Haviland and is very unique.  I proudly display it in my china case and tell everyone who asks all about it.  Grandma is still alive, I need to visit her this summer.  Grandpa passed away December 18, 1995.

So those are my five people.  Each one of them has played a role in who I am today.  I thank them, because I am happy and well-adjusted.  I can only hope that my children turn out the same way. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Child's Artwork

This a picture that was created by my son when he was four and I was pregnant with his little sister, Olivia.  He told me that the blue spot was the baby and the red and orange was my tummy.  It was special to me because of the subject, but also because he created for me.

Tyler attended a NAEYC certified preschool from the time he was 3 until he started Kindergarten.  When he first started, I imagined my refrigerator filling up with his artwork.  Weeks went by and he didn't bring anything home.  Finally we met with the teacher and I asked her why Tyler wasn't bringing any artwork home.  She explained to me that the program was child-centered and the children could choose the centers in which they wanted to work.  She said Tyler was much more interested in the science center and rarely visited the art center.  Occasionally the class would have a directed art activity that he would bring home.  This piece will always be special to me because it was one of the few that Tyler chose to create on his own. 

BTW, Olivia LOVES art and brings home lots and lots of it.  My refrigerator is always full!

One of My Favorite Children's Books

One of my favorite children's books is The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss.  Mostly it's my favorite because my son, Tyler, made me read to him almost every night when he was little. Another reason I chose this particular book is because it has a great message, acceptance.  I use this the story of The Sneetches in my education prep course for 11th and 12th graders.  I read the book to them (It always amazes me at how intently they listen.  After all, they are almost adults and I'm reading them a children's book!) and then I have them work in groups to write a lesson plan on acceptance.  I also like Dr. Seuss because his books are full of imagination and the use of rhyme helps develop literacy in children.


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Friday, July 1, 2011

A Meaningful Quote

Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. ~Harold Hulbert

It's easy to love the 'good' child, but it's the 'not so good' child that really needs to know he's loved.  Adults, myself included, are naturally drawn to the 'good' children and treat them differently, often making them our favorites.  Sometimes all a child needs is to know they are loved and they will change their behavior.  Not to mention the positive effects on their social/emotional development!
I've had my share of ill-behaved children in my classes over the years.  I've been able to win over a few with this philosophy. Even in the ones I didn't win over, I hope I at least made a difference.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Watch out! I can update my blog with my phone from anywhere. Now if I just had something to say...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Let the Adventure Begin!

Well, here it is.  My first blog post.  I have to say that I am super excited to begin my journey of higher learning.  I will be documenting my adventure along the way so stay posted!